How many languages do you speak? It is always a great thing if you can speak more than one language. Research has shown that people who speak more than one language have improved listening, memory and problem-solving skills. Learning a new language can seem like a daunting process. However, when you learn different words, it is easier and faster to pick up. Join us in learning new words in 4 African languages: Swahili, Yoruba, Lingala and Zulu!
Swahili, which is also known as Kiswahili, is the most widely spoken language in Africa. Arabian traders used to travel to the East African Coast to conduct trading. Due to a language barrier between Arabian traders and Africans, a new language emerged, which was Kiswahili. It was a mixture of Arabic and Bantu languages. Kiswahili has carried on for centuries, and there are roughly 150 million speakers. If you speak Arabic or a Bantu language, you can easily pick up Swahili and vice versa. The following countries speak Kiswahili: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here are a few phrases that can help you communicate with a Swahili speaker.
Lingala is a language spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Aside from having the best dads in the world, the DRC is also one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. It is believed that there are 150-200 languages spoken in the country! The official language is French, but there are other national languages. They include Lingala, Kituba, Tshiluba, and Swahili. Of the four national languages, Lingala has more speakers. We had to highlight some phrases in Lingala that are useful in your everyday conversations.
Yoruba is a language spoken in Western Africa. Speakers come from Nigeria, Benin, Too, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, and Cote d'Ivoire. Currently, there are over 20 million Yoruba speakers in the world. Yoruba is a special language because it has a deep cultural heritage. When Yoruba speakers were enslaved, they turned to language, culture and religion as a means of survival. It also made other African around them, who did not speak Yoruba, learn the language and culture. Yoruba has survived over the years, and many of the speakers are spread across the world. They are in Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. Below are some simple phrases that you can learn and try out on a Yoruba person.
The last language on our list is Zulu. One thing that stands about the Zulu people is the legendary leaders such as Shaka Zulu and Cetshwayo kaMpande. The speakers are in South Africa, and they are around 9 million. It is part of the Bantu language groups. Zulu is a unique language because it borrows from other languages. It borrows from Afrikaans, English, and Khoisan languages. Thus, if you speak either language, you can quickly learn Zulu. In addition, Zulu and Xhosa (another language spoken in South Africa) are believed to come from the same dialect. Learning Zulu as a Xhosa native speaker will be easy. We have compiled a few useful phrases in Zulu that are easy to grasp.
Learning a foreign language is fun and interesting. It also allows you to learn about people's history and culture in the process! Let us know which languages/words were the hardest to learn. If you are a native speaker of any of these languages, please feel free to correct us on where we have made a mistake.